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Love at First Sight


They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
 
Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways —
perhaps they’ve passed each other a million times?
 
I want to ask them
if they don’t remember —
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember
They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.
 
Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.
 
There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?
 
There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
beforehand.
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.
 
Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.


Wisława Szymborska, in View With a Grain of Sand, translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

26th January 2013
Tags: Wisława Szymborska Wislawa Szymborska Love at First Sight thoughts that breathe poetry lit

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